Tuesday, 2 April 2013

On Powercuts and Innovation

Yesterday evening we had a power cut. I knew it was coming - there is a power cut every other evening. The night before we had power so of course there wouldn't be any yesterday. I knew this and yet I didn't plan.

I wanted to write a blog but with no power there was no wireless. No internet meant no blog. What could I do? We lit torches, read, chatted, prayed and went to bed early. I tried to have a shower and managed enough water to wash quickly and rinse the sand out of my hair. I couldn't have dried it if I wanted to (no, I haven't brought a hairdryer and frankly at these temperatures you don't really need one anyway.)

These power cuts are an everyday reality for many people in developing countries. I remember them in Pakistan and Romania and people just get on with it. They have to as the countries just can't produce enough power for the increasing population and power hungry way we all live our lives. But people do plan ahead and have torches or candles to use. They have contingency plans for things and innovate. We in the UK are really not very good at innovating, are we? We so expect power to be constant that when it isn't we really have lost the skill set of innovation. How would many of us spend an evening without the T.V. or the internet to keep up entertained? Could we entertain ourselves with books? Boardgames? Have we chatted enough with our family and spouse to be able to hold a conversation with them for an evening and end up happy, contented and closer to one another? How would we spend our time together? Could we make a cup of tea or even some hot food? What about going for a walk in the dark if the children are old enough?

Maybe we could all dust off our skills of innovation and give it a go. It would save resources, save energy and could even help save relationships if we haven't got electricity to hide behind.

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